Last year was my first UK Meet, in Brighton, and it marked the start of my journey to being a published writer. Somehow at the end of that UK Meet, I agreed to help plan and deliver the UK Meet 2013.
Fast forward 10 months and I’m also on one of the panels, on how to write the next 50 Shades of Grey (if you’d want to). I’m not quite sure how that happened either, but anyway, it was all such tremendous fun, I’d do it all again tomorrow. Well, actually can I have a few weeks off and then I’d do it again!
Friday afternoon I meandered my way by train, optimistically taking my laptop to do some editing of the WIP. Instead I ploughed my way through Auto Express, (yes I’m into cars, some gays are car gays too, I like to mix it up a bit with the stereotypes) Attitude, and a very frothy and fun book called ‘Can We Still Be Friends’ by Alexandra Shulman (the editor of British Vogue, where the Boyfriend works, so I’ve got a signed copy.) I thought I’d better give it a go and read it since she gave it to me, and I’m pleased with what I’m finding. So far there’s a lesbian lover, a gay colleague with a dodgy boyfriend.
I arrived at the MacDonald Manchester Hotel, and was pleasantly surprised by the fact it looked like a huge cruise liner, sweeping majestically along the road. I was also pleased they’d upgraded me to a ‘city view’ room from a normal double. Oh the glamour! It was a lovely big room and huge double bed, which made it a shame the Boyfriend couldn’t come. He had a family anniversary to attend in London (his aunt’s 50 years of hairdressing, he was baking cakes and being a waiter for the day. And if that’s not as camp as bunting, I don’t know what is.)
I sashayed around the shops for a while, shocked by how unbelievably hot it was. I can’t remember another time I’ve ever come to Manchester when it hasn’t rained solidly the whole time. I even brought an umbrella and hoodie in preparation. They didn’t leave my suitcase.
I ate in the food court of the Arndale Centre (Taco Bell, a fail as I had to wait 15 mins and it was all a bit lacklustre). I don’t see the point of fast food if you have to wait for it, or is that me being a bit prissy?
Back to the hotel, I met Elin Gregory, who I’d only spoken to by email before, and who’d been kind enough to let me guest blog on her site. I also met Jessie Landel, whose website I’d perused too.
I said hi to Jay Rookwood and Bruin Fisher, who I’d met at the UK Meet 2012, as well as Charlie Cochrane, Jo Myles and J L Merrow, my fellow Spice Girls organisers.
Eventually a journey worn Clare London arrived, so I got her a drink, for medicinal purposes of course, and helped unload her car of bags and swag. I carried a huge box of books, and wish someone had taken a photo, it was, without doubt the butchest thing I’ve done all year. And there’s no photographic evidence. Shame.
I resisted the guided walk of the gay village, proclaiming, ‘I don’t do walks, unless it’s to shops.’ However I spoke to other delegates at the evening meal at Taurus, I was convinced it was A Good Idea to join.
The meal at Taurus was great: despite my optimism that we definitely wouldn’t have any, ‘I didn’t order that,’ or ‘I can’t remember what I ordered,’ we had that in spades. Clare and I paraded up and down with a list of who’d ordered what, and I was grateful as I remembered I’d forgotten what I’d ordered.
I spoke to Anne Brooke, who I met for the first time at the UK Meet 2012, we had a great time, putting the world to rights on grammatical errors, and wondering what we’d talk about in the author one to one I’d booked with her on Sunday morning (and what state we’d be in after Saturday night).
Sensible Baby Spice that I am, I was in tucked up in bed, with an episode of Gilmore Girls (my latest boxset purchase now I’ve finally, sadly, reached the end of Dawson’s Creek). And so to sleep.
How was your UK Meet 2013? Did you get to bed sensibly early Friday night? Or did you arrive Saturday morning?
Until next time